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The Man Who Was There (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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September 22, 2023 6:00 am

The Man Who Was There (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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September 22, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts


He was the man there already. He was amongst the people.

God did not have to retrieve Him from anywhere. What made Moses and Joshua stand out? Amongst all the people, what makes them stand out to us to this day is both came to understand and value highly the known presence of God.

Yes, we know God is present, but do we believe that He stands there with His sword ready on behalf of His causes? This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the Book of Joshua.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the Book of Joshua Chapter 5 as he begins his message, The Man Who Was There. If you have your Bibles, please turn to the Book of Joshua Chapter 5. The Book of Joshua Chapter 5, it is the sixth book in the Bible.

The message is entitled, The Man Who Was There, and while my text is verse 13, we will read verses 13 through 15 for context. So, if you have your Bibles and you're ready, or not, Joshua Chapter 5 beginning at verse 13. And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a man stood opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, Are you for us or our adversaries?

So he said, No. But as commander of the army of Yahweh, I have now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, What does my Lord say to his servant? Then the commander of Yahweh's army said to Joshua, Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy. And Joshua did so.

Certainly rich with information that you want to preach on all of it, at least I do, but I don't have time. I don't know why more sermons are not preached from this amazing book that, incidentally, we would not have a book of Joshua if it were not for the failure of Moses. God's Word causes all things to work together for the good.

The man who was there, it has a dual meaning, my title, but it concentrates on Joshua. And by that, to concentrate on the man Joshua, we concentrate on what God is doing in the man. It always goes back to God.

It is always all about the Lord. And that's why we love the Scriptures so much. The text is verse 13 of chapter 5.

I will reread it. And it came to pass when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a man stood opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, Are you for us or for our adversaries?

Well, I wouldn't recommend approaching a man with a sword out, especially a stranger, not like this, but of course, there is a spiritual activity surrounding everything that is taking place in this exchange. This man is not human, the one that Joshua is speaking to. He is divine. This is a visible manifestation of God in human form. What we are getting out of this is worship. Worship precedes warfare in the name of the Lord. And it was not wasted on Joshua. This experience, as Christians, you can have the Lord do something very unusual and beautiful at the same time, and that's as far as it goes, because you go no further. And it's sort of wasted on you like that.

We have to guard against that. Well, it's not wasted on this man on this day, and there alone is a lesson for us all. When it came time to conquer that heavily fortified city, Jericho, and it was impregnable, Joshua withdrew, and the implication is to pray, to consider what was ahead of him. This was the first conflict in the Promised Land.

This was the first city that had to fall, the first big conflict. It's not curiosity, but craving that belongs to the Spirit-filled servant. If you come to the Scripture and study it, and your main focus is to satisfy curiosities, you're missing it. The craving to know God, to be his friend, to be comfortable with him because his blessings are on you. This is what we crave. We crave that Christ-likeness in our own lives. And if you have been one that is just centered on answering questions and satisfying curiosities, you might want to rethink the spirit of it all.

But Joshua here, as he is contemplating Jericho, he knows there's no military solution. And he craves God. It's a part of his life. It has filled him. He's filled with the Spirit.

We'll come to that in a moment. But earlier, earlier before this event takes place, God confirmed to Joshua that Moses would not return from the mountain. We remember that Moses went up atop the mountain and God took him home to heaven. And God wanted to make that official with Joshua.

He's not coming back. Just as the prophecy, just as he told you it would happen, it has happened. Joshua chapter 1 verse 2, Moses, my servant, is dead. There it is. Make no mistake, Joshua.

Now it's you. He continues, Now therefore arise and go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, the children of Israel. Imagine the void. Moses had been their leader.

He had delivered them from bondage in Egypt. It's been over 40 years and now he's gone. It's a big void. It's an empty space in the hearts and minds of everyone. But that vacancy that Moses left was there for Joshua to fill.

Well, that's true for us. There are times in serving God there is a vacancy. There's an opportunity. Someone has moved on for good or bad reasons, whatever it may be.

It may be God saying to you, I need you to fill the void. Well, that's the case with Joshua. So Joshua in the story is now the land giver. Moses was the law giver. He gave the people the law of God from God. Joshua is going to give them the land, God's promised land. God has sent him to do this. And here God meets him. God meets him before he arrives at the battlefield.

Joshua won again. No man, God said to Joshua, shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. We take hold of that verse and we say, well, does that apply to me?

I think it does, but it does not always apply to me the way that I would like it to apply to me. You see, a man can stand before me and he can physically conquer me, but not spiritually. So in that sense, no man stands before the believer.

But, of course, in Joshua's case, God meant it all the way around. No one's going to stand before you physically. You'll take these cities down and no man will stand before you spiritually.

You will not be converted to some false religion. In chapter 3, the Lord said to Joshua, this day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel. They may know that as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. And so what I'm establishing or attempting to from these two verses is God is saying, you are filling the vacancy. I am the one doing it. You are my man.

You are my servant. Joshua is the man who was there, and he had a history of being the man who was there. He was not the missing man.

You never find him missing. Now, God does not mean that Joshua will be a second Moses. That's not necessary. It's not even possible. And yet, the people made it a capital crime to disobey Joshua.

What kind of leadership is that? I mean, that is incredible. That they would be so taken by this man Joshua, this second generation of Jewish people. I'm going to pick it up and read it out loud because it is so fantastic. In verse 16 of chapter 1, so they answered Joshua saying, all that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you. Only Yahweh your God be with you as he was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your command and does not heed your words, and all that you command him shall be put to death.

Only be strong and of good courage. Isn't that amazing? This is not that first generation of naysayers that came out of Egypt that said, oh, we're grasshoppers in the eyes of the giants. These are their children. So much for generational curses.

If there were a generational curse, this generation wouldn't be able to enter in, but they do enter in. And we hear their words and we're moved by them. Achan, he disobeyed Joshua, and Achan was stoned to death. That's just one example that we know of where they executed that pledge that they made to Joshua. Well, on the strength of this dynamic first chapter in the book of Joshua, on the strength of this chapter, everything is charged with the power of God moving forward as we consider his life, all the way until he goes home to be with the Lord himself.

All of it has as its foundation not only that first chapter in the book of Joshua, but the life that proceeds, as the story goes, in the book of Exodus, in the book of Numbers and Deuteronomy. What man did God choose to fill the vacancy that Moses left? The man who was there. The man who was born a slave in Egypt, just like Moses. The man who became a servant to Moses. The man who served as a soldier in the wilderness. The man who was sent as a spy into the promised land of Canaan. And the man that was appointed the shepherd over the nation when God took Moses home. When we first meet him, the first time we hear his name, it is when he is being sent to war as commander of the Israelite army.

Just two months out of Egypt as slaves, the Amalekites attacked the children of Israel. And Moses responds, and in his response, he sends Joshua to pick the men of war to take with him to fight and defeat the wicked Amalekites. So here is Joshua appointed as field commander, and he engaged and defeated the enemy. And after the battle, very likely, not during or before, did he know, did he learn about the spiritual warfare that covered the field of victory.

He's out on the field fighting the war. He does not know that Moses is up on the mountain watching. He knows that part, but that when his arms go up, Joshua's forces are repelled when they go down. But when Moses' arms go up, Joshua's forces repel the enemy, beat back the enemy.

And he does not know that a man named her and a man named Aaron are holding the arms of Moses up because they were becoming weary. This is what spiritual warfare is. It's unpleasant. It's difficult.

And it requires help. Joshua was the man on the battlefield. Worship during war, that's what was taking place. In the midst of conflict, there was worship.

Maybe you, maybe you have some great conflict in your life. Do you still have your altar to the Lord? Do you have your place of sacrifice and prayer and worship?

These things are supposed to continue no matter what you face in this life because worship has everything to do with everything after this life. Of the over one million men in the camp of Israel, Moses chose Joshua to be his aide-de-camp, his assistant, his right-hand man, to accompany him to the mountain of God. Of a million men, Joshua is the man who was there.

Joshua lived and served in the shadow of that great law-giver. We never hear a peep from him. We hear it from others. We hear it from Dothan.

We hear it from Miriam, his own sister. We hear others complaining about Moses, never from the lips of Joshua. Now I know time doesn't allow for me to get into the name of Joshua too deeply.

I'll come to it in a moment. But I want to read from Exodus 33, 11. Yahweh spoke to Moses face to face as a man speaks to his friend and he would return to the camp. He'd come down from the mountain or he'd go to the tabernacle and return to the camp. But his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. Yahweh was central to this man's life.

He loved being at the house of God, that place, that point of contact. Joshua is the man who was there for Moses and the man before the Lord. And it was Moses who changed the name of Joshua. Originally, he was named Hoshea by his parents, salvation. But with great insight and affection, Moses modified the name of Joshua from Hoshea to Yahshua, which is Yahweh saves. He elevates the name. It is profound from the Christian perspective. In Numbers 13, we read it, and Moses called Hoshea, the son of Nun, Yahshua, which is the Hebrew for the Greek name Jesus.

Moses loved and admired the man that was his assistant. These things are very attractive to any believer. I love this kind of stuff. I want it. I crave these things.

They don't just satisfy my curiosity. Huh, that's an interesting Bible story. To me, I see the fingerprints of God all on this, and I want those fingerprints to be all over my life. God appointed Joshua to succeed, to follow Moses in life and after. Numbers 27, verse 18, Yahweh said to Moses, take Joshua, the son of Nun, with you, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand on him. Set him before Eliezer, the priest, and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.

How much humanity is into that? We do this when we anoint a pastor here in the church. We bring them before the congregation.

We lay our hands on them. They receive authority, some of the authority, just like it was done in the days of Moses, and so it continues, because it's good. He was indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and the Bible says in Deuteronomy, chapter 34, that he was full of wisdom.

Well, the two go together. When it came his turn to choose his lot, his land, while they were subduing the inhabitants, subduing, pardon me, doing if you're from Brooklyn, but while they were subduing the inhabitants of the land, he asked for Timnath Sura, who's hill country, in the territory of Ephraim, the tribe he is from. His own tribe, half of some from the tribe of Ephraim and the tribe of Manasseh, they complained to him when the land was being divided up between the peoples. They said, in the valleys of the territory you've given to us, they have iron chariots. We can't take them out. And we are a great people.

We need more. Joshua said, well, if you are a great people, why aren't you taking them out? He doesn't say it like that, but he said, well then, if you're such a great people, go take the hill country. Conquer them there, where there are no chariots.

There was no comeback they could give to that. But when his time came, he practiced what he preached, and he took this territory of Timnath Sura, which is in the hill country. He practiced what he preached.

He took what he told them to take. And that very hill country that he conquered and took as his possession, he turned it into a city. He put it on the map.

We pick it up in Joshua 19. According to the word of Yahweh, they gave him the city which he asked for, Timnath Sura, in the mountains of Ephraim. And he built the city and dwelt in it.

Do the victor go the spoils? Remember, these people that they were taking out of the land were wicked people. And they were the instruments of God to judge them, just as years later the Assyrians would be instruments of God to judge the Jews, and then the Babylonians. Because he was sure of God's presence, he could do all the things I've been talking to you about him. And that is the thrust of the man who is there. He knew God was there, and so he could be where he needed to be. He was never a side-liner.

We don't read of Joshua sitting out anything. He was there for it all. In the midst, we might even say, in the thick of it. God retrieved Moses from the wilderness, because there Moses had to learn just how insignificant he was. That's the one that God uses, the one that gives the glory to God, and knows that every good thing that they may enjoy comes from him. Joshua, on the other hand, was not in isolation. He was the man there already. He was amongst the people. God did not have to retrieve him from anywhere. What made Moses and Joshua stand out amongst all the people, what makes them stand out to us to this day, is both came to understand and value highly the known presence of God. Yes, we know God is present, but do we believe that he stands there with his sword ready on behalf of his causes? As Joshua stood before Jericho wondering how to take the city, God knew that Joshua knew there was no way humanly possible to take down Jericho. And so God comes to him, and he reveals himself to him. He says, I'm with you, and I am the commander, and I am here over the interest of God. Of course, being God, the manifestation of God, Joshua got that. And how do we know that?

How do we draw this conclusion? Well, because he falls down and he worships him, and the worship is received. And had it not been any other way, it would have been blasphemy. It was not blasphemy.

It was perfect. This is what made these men stand out. This is what made them remarkable, and still they are remarkable to us. Moses, Joshua, and apostates. We are confronted with these things when we come to Scripture. There are others, of course, other than Moses and Joshua. Well, we're talking about these men this morning, and the apostates, because it has everything to do with not sensing the presence of God. Moses, that great servant, the presence of God meant everything to him. In fact, at one point, when God was going to send his people forward and send his angel to go with them, Moses protested. Then he said to him, Exodus 33, 15, If your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. What tone did he use? What was happening there? I think he was very reverent, but I think on the inside, the passion was intense.

Please don't ask me to even go if you don't go with us. Exodus 3, verse 5, God doing the same thing to Moses as he would do to Joshua. Then he said, Do not draw near this place.

Take your sandals off your feet. The place where you stand is holy ground. And so there, both men have this encounter, this visible encounter, at least in Moses' case, the bush that did not burn, but the voice that did speak, they have this encounter with God, that God was present, that he was there, and as Christians, we must never lose that sense.

No matter how defeated we may feel, no matter how neglected, passed over, or cast down, we may feel, we are going to be the servant that is there because the master is there. It was identical for Joshua as we read in Joshua chapter 1. As I was with Moses, I will be with you.

I will not leave you nor forsake you. This is New Testament language also. And then chapter 5, verse 15, then the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.

And Joshua did so. You see, identical. These identical experiences. Both men experienced them, and both men went on to serve as examples for us.

It is identical for us. The presence of God realized in the New Testament. Thanks for joining us for today's teaching on Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia.

We hope you've been blessed by this Believer's Basics series, exploring the fundamentals of what it means to follow Christ. If you'd like to listen to more of this series or share it with someone you know, please visit We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit and follow the links under radio. Again, that's That's all for today. We hope you'll tune in next time to continue studying the Word of God, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-07 09:21:12 / 2023-10-07 09:30:14 / 9

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